Venturing to a slightly different place once again… Actually, I have done posts on Egyptian dancers, mostly about four to five years ago. (Unfortunately, if you look back at some of those posts now, you’ll see that most of the clips are gone, but I intend to replace them soon.) Those posts included a few clips by the ’70s-’80s dancer named Fifi Abdou, but I also featured Tahia Carioca, Samia Gamal, and Hind Rostom, who all came from the Golden Age. Egypt’s Golden Age of cinema happened very close in time to India’s, beginning in the 1940s and extending into the ’60s. Having looked at a lot of Egyptian movies at this point, I think it’s fair to say that there also are close parallels between this cinema and Indian cinema in the song-and-dance sequences, with the main difference being that the Egyptian dances were mostly Middle Eastern (of course). But there was a good deal of variety in these Egyptian dances, too, and sometimes one could see some Indian elements as well as a lot of other things. (As we know, there are a lot of Bollywood dances that include belly dancing, sometimes with a distinctly Middle Eastern look. Well, in Egyptian cinema we can see many dances starting as Middle Eastern dances or belly dances and extending into something else.) Some of these Egyptian dances also took on very modern and Western qualities – just as the Indian ones sometimes did…
Naima Akef was probably the most eclectic of the dancers that I have seen. She may not have been quite as renowned as Tahia Carioca or Samia Gamal, but she was certainly up there in appeal, and I have been wanting to write a post on her because some of her dances contained such an incredible variety as well as being excellent and fun. Additionally, she choreographed many of her own dances, and she sometimes even headed a Naima Akef Dance Troupe.
I am going to start this selection with her most strange and possibly most modern dance, “Mambo.” As I’ve said elsewhere, I have seen nothing like this before. After that one, I’ve thrown in six more, which fall all along the spectrum from modern cabaret to traditional Egyptian folk dance. Rather than going into any descriptions of those, I’ll let the dances speak for themselves (because they certainly do speak for themselves – and because that means less work for me).
By the way, you might notice a different format here, because I have decided to use Vimeo as the source. The first clips are smaller than the latter ones, because that’s the way they come at Vimeo (and I don’t know if there’s any way to change that). Nonetheless, I’m glad that I’ve dipped into Vimeo because after so much YouTube, it seems refreshing, somehow.